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MassMutual’s Center for Behavioral Researchsm Launches Web Site


Springfield, Mass.) – MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division has launched a new Web site [] as a vehicle to share insights and information discovered in its Center for Behavioral Research. The research will be published for the benefit of participants, plan sponsors, and the financial professionals who serve them.

“MassMutual’s Center for Behavioral Research serves as a creative laboratory for testing and experimentation with regard to emerging education and communication techniques,” says Alison Salka, Ph.D., director of MassMutual’s Center for Behavioral Researchsm. “In collaboration with academic and industry researchers, MassMutual’s team of thought leaders conducts research and analysis on participant behavior and the motivations that drive successful retirement savings activity. The Web site will enable us to share the findings of our research in a timely, easily-accessible manner,” says Salka.

“As a pioneer in the behavioral finance arena, MassMutual continually tests new ideas in our efforts to help the American worker retire successfully. Our focus has been -- and will continue to be -- to find ways to help motivate retirement plan participants to act in their own best interests,” explains Ian Sheridan, corporate vice president and chief marketing officer for MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division.

One of the first tools available on MassMutual’s Center for Behavioral Research Web site is a retirement research library. The library will house a series of white papers co-authored by a cross-functional MassMutual team. The white papers will address topics important to the creation of an effective retirement savings plan such as:

* Tools to Increase Participation and Savings in Defined Contribution Plans
* Automation: 3 Steps to a High Performance Plan (coming late February)
* A Behavioral Approach to Retirement Planning

MassMutual plans to expand the role of the Center and its supporting Web site, both of which originated in MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division, across the entire MassMutual enterprise in the future. “Understanding what drives financial decision-making, or the lack thereof, is a key component of MassMutual’s brand promise to all of our customers,” says Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division and chairman, president and CEO of MassMutual International LLC. “We’ll help you get there is more than just a tag line – it truly captures MassMutual’s value proposition,” she adds. In support of this commitment to educate consumers regarding financial matters, MassMutual is the exclusive sponsor of a PBS documentary, Retirement Revolution, being produced by WTTW National Productions in Chicago and scheduled to air nationally this spring.

“We are collaborating with leading universities and some of the most highly-regarded behavioral finance experts in the nation to help us understand how we can apply this science to drive positive participant savings behavior,” notes Salka.

MassMutual’s Center for Behavioral Research is currently evaluating the impact of default deferral rates on enrollment. Early findings indicate that high default savings rates don’t seem to hurt participation. In fact, one sponsor with an 8% default deferral rate has a 96% participation rate.

“Deciphering the code of common barriers to saving will influence how we approach the creation and delivery of participant communications,” says Sheridan. “MassMutual is dedicated to understanding the dynamics of retirement decision-making with the ultimate goal of helping plan sponsors and participants derive the very best possible outcome from the retirement benefit.”


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